In our previous meditation, we discussed our own journey towards Allah (SWT), where we often spend our younger years chasing this duniya, only to realize later just how unfulfilling it is. This then leads us towards greater spirituality and asking forgiveness from Allah (SWT) for all of the years that we were distant from Him (SWT).
In this meditation we will continue to discuss the final ayat of Surah an-Nasr:
In this ayat, Allah (SWT) tells us that after exalting and praising Allah (SWT) we should ask forgiveness from Him (SWT). When Allah (SWT) revealed this ayat to Rasulullah (SAW), we ask a very logical question, why did Allah (SWT) ask Rasulullah (SAW) to ask forgiveness when he was masoom, meaning that He (SAW) was not just without sin but His (SAW) position was so great that He (SAW) could not even could not even contemplate sinning?
Whereas Rasulullah (SAW) did not sin, we, His (SAW) ummah, sin continuously. When Jibraeel (AS) said to Luqman (AS) that Allah (SWT) has sent him (AS) to make Luqman (AS) a prophet, Luqman (AS) asked if this was a suggestion or a commandment. When Jibraeel (AS) said that it was a suggestion, Luqman (AS) said to Jibraeel (AS) that he (AS) did not want to accept the prophethood as he (AS) did not want to carry the burden of the sins of his (AS) own ummah. Luqman (AS) asked Jibraeel (AS) if he (AS) could be given wisdom instead, which Allah (SWT) accepted. This is narrated in Surah Luqman.
Each prophet of Allah (SWT) carries the burden of the sins of their ummah. How can we even imagine how heavy this burden must be for Rasulullah (SAW), who carries the burden of all of our sins? This is why Allah (SWT) told Rasulullah (SAW) to seek forgiveness, as this forgiveness was not for Him (SAW), but for us, Muhammad’s (SAW) ummah.
Rasulullah (SAW) used to do the tasbeeh of astagfirullah one hundred times per day. In Rajab, Muhammad (SAW) used to do this tasbeeh one thousand times a day. By doing so, we must also follow this sunnah and ask for forgiveness from Allah (SWT) from our sins on a daily basis.
Asking for forgiveness is not easy and Rasulullah (SAW) demonstrated how we should ask for forgiveness. When we know that we have done something wrong and are called to justice, we feel anxious and we begin to sweat.
It is narrated that Rasulullah (SAW) had a shirt that was drenched in sweat. The reason for this is that Rasulullah (SAW) seeked forgiveness for every one of his (SAW) ummah to such an extent that he sweated as he (SAW) knew that we had committed our sins, but asked Allah (SWT) for their forgiveness on our behalf.
Furthermore, it is narrated that in that shirt, there was one drop of sweat for every member of Rasulullah’s (SAW) ummah that would ever live. This is the mercy of Rasulullah (SAW) towards us, alhamdolillah, who did not forget one single member of His (SAW) ummah that would come until the final day.
In the same way that Rasulullah (SAW) asked for the sins of each of his (SAW) ummah to be forgiven, we must also ask for each of our own sins to be forgiven. We must do this by feeling ashamed to have committed those sins and to sweat as if we were standing in front of Allah (SWT) knowing that we had committed them.
This is the true path to forgiveness, where we constantly say astagfirullah and ask for our sins to be forgiven with shame that we allowed them to take us away from Allah (SWT) in the first place.
This is how our nafs has been designed to work. For the majority of us, our nafs is nafsal lawamma, the judging nafs, that is always judging decisions in this world with how we will be accountable for it on the day of quayammat, on Judgment day, when we will all be held accountable for our sins.
May Allah (SWT) give us the wisdom and understanding to constantly say astagfirullah as we sin, to repent our sins by experiencing the shame of allowing them to have distanced us from Allah (SWT) and by maintaining nafsal lawamma, so that we are always remembering that we will be accountable on the day of judgment. Aamin.